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From New Brunswick to BC: Fracking is back

John Bell

April 29, 2014

US-based SWN Resources is heading back to New Brunswick to drill four test wells, a precursor to introducing fracking to exploit shale gas deposits.
The company was the focus of mass protests and road blockades in 2013. Central to the opposition were Mi’kmag communities–especially Elsipogtog–and broad support came from rural settler populations and environmental activists across Canada.
Fracking involves injecting a high-pressure mixture of water and toxic chemicals into a gas or oil bearing shale rock bed. The layers of rock are fractured and the fossil fuels are pumped out. The process poses real threats to clean water supplies. “After 30 years of those wells being , 60 per cent of those wells are leaking,” warns geologist Jennifer West said. “That's what industry has told us. We’re not comfortable with those kinds of risk values applied to our drinking water.”
West is a member of the Ecology Action Centre, which opposes fracking in New Brunswick, and is calling for a 10-year moratorium on proposed fracking in Nova Scotia. There are currently fracking bans in Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In New Brunswick, SWN Resources promises it is only exploring, and has no immediate plans for commercial production. Activists who have faced SWN’s public relations machine, and repression from the provincial and federal governments, are not likely to buy that line.
We can expect the fight against fracking to heat up again this summer, and once again the struggle at Elsipogtog will take centre stage.
If you like this article, register for Marxism 2014: Resisting a System in Crisis, a weekend-long political conference June 14-15 in Toronto. Sessions include "System change not climate change," "Environmental racism and climate justice," and "Marx's ecology."

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